Taiwan's Chinatrust in talks to buy Tokyo bank: Report

PHOTO: Taiwan's Chinatrust in talks to buy Tokyo bank: Report

TOKYO - Taiwan's Chinatrust Commercial Bank is in talks to take over a regional Japanese bank in what would be the first such foreign acquisition, a report said Sunday.

The major Taiwanese bank has already told the shareholders of Tokyo Star Bank that it wants to buy a nearly 100-per cent stake for about 50 billion yen (S$710 million), the business daily Nikkei reported.

Although foreign funds have taken over Japanese banks before, no overseas bank has ever done so, it said.

Tokyo Star's shareholders - including US investment fund Lone Star Funds, Japan's Shinsei Bank and France's Credit Agricole - are due to examine the terms of the proposed takeover early next year, the Nikkei said.

Chinatrust will make a final decision on the takeover price after examining the Tokyo bank's assets.

It has branches in Tokyo and other Asian cities and is looking to increase its international earnings through the takeover, the Nikkei said.

Tokyo Star was bought by Lone Star in 2001 after its predecessor, Tokyo Sowa Bank, went under in 1999.

In 2008 its shares were sold to a Japanese private equity fund. However, the fund struggled to make payments amid difficult business conditions. Lone Star, Shinsei Bank and other creditors have become de facto shareholders after acquiring collateral shares.

Tokyo Star, which mainly focuses on individual customers through such services as housing loans, had a deposit balance of 2.06 trillion yen and an outstanding loan balance of 1.52 trillion yen as of the end of September, the Nikkei said.